Alice Cooper / Dirty Diamonds / CD Review

New West Records

Let me state for the record that I’ve always been a big fan of Alice Cooper.  But let’s be honest, his recent career has been spotty at best.  While his last album The Eyes of Alice Cooper was a step in the right direction, it contained some of the worst songs of his career.  Fortunately, it also contained some of the best.  Now with the impending release of Dirty Diamonds (August 2), Alice has gone even further backwards while vocally sounding better than ever.  While it’s arguable that he’s merely jumping on the garage rock bandwagon, let’s not forget that it is a wagon he helped master in the first place.

On Dirty Diamonds, the Detroit garage rock is back in full force.  “Perfect” is about a girl with delusions of grandeur.  On this track, we get to hear the clean Alice vocal that hasn’t been used in ages.  The ending is reminiscent of Flush The Fashion’s “Dance Yourself to Death.”  The title track returns Alice to the cinematic feel and could easily be an updated “Man with the Golden Gun.”

Luckily, Alice’s trademark sense of humor is still intact. “The Saga of Jesse Jane” brings back the cross dressing theme that made songs like “Desperado” and “The Prettiest Cop on the Block” so interesting.  This time it’s a straight up Johnny Cash styled country song that demonstrates Alice’s attempt to even sound like the man in black.  “Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)” is a Rolling Stones like swaggering rock number with a pre-chorus nicked from Cheap Trick’s “Tonight It’s You.”  It’s also surprising that this album doesn’t contain an “Only Women Bleed” styled ballad.  This time the ballad, “Six Hours” is like a bluesier “I Never Cry.” Just not as autobiographical.

Dirty Diamonds ends with “Zombie Dance” which showcases Alice’s harmonica abilities that haven’t been displayed since the very early days.  This song could be from Love it to Death.  There’s also a nice reference to that very album in the song with the mention of “juju eyes.”

This being Alice, the album isn’t without a few cringe worthy moments.  The chorus to “You Make Me Wanna” is downright lame and the bonus track with Xzibit, “Stand,” should have never been released.

These few moments aside, Dirty Diamonds is the Coop’s best album in quite awhile.  It’s certainly no Killer or Billion Dollar Babies, but the old shock rocker is on the right track.  With Alice’s history of doing albums in pairs, expect his next release to be something completely different.